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Guanciale finally available in Vancouver!

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Guanciale, which is the cured cheek from a nice piece of pork is one of those amazing Italian regional products that has taken forever to be created in Vancouver. Mario Batali raves about it in Molto Italiano, his latest cookbook, and the New York Times just did a piece on Pasta all'Amatraciana with the focus being on the key ingredient - Guanciale. (NYT, Jan. 16, '08).

Finally, after lots of begging on my part (as well as many others) John and Christine van der Lieck from Oyama agreed to make up a batch using the heirloom pigs that John makes most of his excellent products with.

Basically Guanciale is sort of like Pancetta in that it's cured with salt and spices and then sliced like bacon and cooked. The difference is that the pig's cheeks, once cured, are much more flavourfull than pancetta and although they lack the smokiness of bacon are the traditional ingredient in Bucatini all' Amatriciana as well as Spaghetti Carbonara.

The first batch arrived at their shop on Granville Island on Thursday and the quality is fantastic (better than the ones Mario Battali's dad Armandino makes at Salumi in Seattle!).

I have no idea what quantity were made but I can only imagine that with two servings per pig there cant' be a lot.


Each piece weighs just over and pound and you have to buy the whole piece, trim the skin off the back and slice it yourself. (I can only imagine the price is an introductory special as it is a steal.)



My Bucatini all'Amatriciana, tomorrow I'm making Spaghetti Carbonara!

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It isn't guanciale, but I found smoked pork jowl at the local IGA yesterday. Does anyone have tips on how to use smoked jowl? Can I just slice it up and eat it, or does it need further cooking?

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  • 6 months later...

After a bit of an absence there is a fresh stock of Guanciale at Oyama. I buy one or two at a time and they keep for months wrapped in the brown paper they come in.

This has totally replaced bacon, proscuitto and pancetta in my cooking.

Although nothing will replace bacon on it's own :rolleyes:

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